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Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at

Ezekiel Chapter 46

Ezekiel 46:1

eze 46:1

Sacrifices for the Sabbath and New Moon

As, according to Eze 45:17, it devolved upon the prince to provide and bring the sacrifices for himself and the house of Israel; after the appointment of the sacrifices to be offered at the yearly feasts (Eze 45:18-25), and before the regulation of the sacrifices for the Sabbath and new moon (Eze 46:4-7), directions are given as to the conduct of the prince at the offering of these sacrifices (Eze 46:1-3). For although the slaughtering and preparation of the sacrifices for the altar devolved upon the priests, the prince was to be present at the offering of the sacrifices to be provided by him, whereas the people were under no obligation to appear before the Lord in the temple except at the yearly feasts.

Eze 46:1. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, The gate of the inner court, which looks toward the east, shall be shut the six working days, and on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened. Eze 46:2. And the prince shall come by the way to the porch of the gate from without, and stand at the posts of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt-offering and his peace-offerings, and he shall worship on the threshold of the gate and then go out; but the gate shall not be shut till the evening. Eze 46:3. And the people of the land shall worship at the entrance of that gate on the Sabbaths and on the new moons before Jehovah. Eze 46:4. And the burnt-offering which the prince shall offer to Jehovah shall consist on the Sabbath-day of six lambs without blemish and a ram without blemish; Eze 46:5. And as a meat-offering, an ephah for the ram, and for the lambs as a meat-offering that which his hand may give, and of oil a hin to the ephah (of meal). Eze 46:6. And on the day of the new moon there shall be an bullock, a young ox without blemish, and six lambs and a ram without blemish; Eze 46:7. And he shall put an ephah for the bullock, and an ephah for the ram for the meat-offering, and for the lambs as much as his hand affords, and of oil a hin for the ephah. - Eze 46:1-3 supply and explain the instructions given in Eze 44:1-3 concerning the outer eastern gate. As the east gate of the outer court (Eze 44:1), so also the east gate of the inner court was to remain closed during the six working days, and only to be opened on the Sabbaths and new moons, when it was to remain open till the evening. The prince was to enter this inner east gate, and to stand there and worship upon the threshold while his sacrifice was being prepared and offered. בּוא דּרך אוּלם is to be taken as in Eze 44:3; but מחוּץ, which is appended, is not to be referred to the entrance into the inner court, as the statement would be quite superfluous so far as this is concerned, since any one who was not already in the inner court must enter the gate-building of the inner court from without, or from the outer court. The meaning of מחוּץ is rather that the prince was to enter, or to go to, the gate porch of the inner court through the outer east gate. There he was to stand at the posts of the gate and worship on the threshold of the gate during the sacrificial ceremony; and when this was over he was to go out again, namely, by the same way by which he entered (Eze 44:3). But the people who came to the temple on the Sabbaths and new moons were to worship פּתח, i.e., at the entrance of this gate, outside the threshold of the gate. Kliefoth in wrong in taking פּתח in the sense of through the doorway, as signifying that the people were to remain in front of the outer east gate, and to worship looking at the temple through this gate and through the open gate between. For השּׁער ההוּא roF ., hits gate, can only be the gate of the inner court, which has been already mentioned. There is no force in the consideration which has led Kliefoth to overlook ההוּא, and think of the outer gate, namely, that "it would be unnatural to suppose that the people were to come into the outer court through the outer north and south gates, whilst the outer east gate remained shut (or perhaps more correctly, was opened for the prince), and so stand in front of the inner court," as it is impossible to see what there is that is unnatural in such a supposition. On the other hand, it is unnatural to assume that the people, who, according to Eze 46:9, were to come through the north and south gates into the outer court at all the מועדים to appear before Jehovah, were not allowed to enter the court upon the Sabbaths and new moons if they should wish to worship before Jehovah upon these days also, but were to stand outside before the gate of the outer court. The difference between the princes and the people, with regard to visiting the temple upon the Sabbaths and new moons, consisted chiefly in this, that the prince could enter by the outer east gate and proceed as far as the posts of the middle gate, and there worship upon the threshold of the gate, whereas the people were only allowed to come into the outer court through the outer north and south gates, and could only proceed to the front of the middle gate. - Eze 46:4. The burnt-offering for the Sabbath is considerably increased when compared with that appointed in the Mosaic law. The law requires two yearling lambs with the corresponding meat-offering (Num 28:9); Ezekiel, six lambs and one ram, and in addition to these a meat-offering for the ram according to the proportion already laid down in Eze 45:24 for the festal sacrifices; and for the lambs, מתּת ידו, a gift, a present of his hand, - that is to say, not a handful of meal, but, according to the formula used in alternation with it in Eze 46:7, as much as his hand can afford. For כּאשׁר , see Lev 14:30; Lev 25:26. - It is different with the sacrifices of the new moon in Eze 46:6 and Eze 46:7. The law of Moses prescribed two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs, with the corresponding meat-offering, and a he-goat for a sin-offering (Num 28:11-15); the thorah of Ezekiel, on the contrary, omits the sin-offering, and reduces the burnt-offering to one bullock, one ram, and six lambs, together with a meat-offering, according to the proportion already mentioned, which is peculiar to his law. The first תּמימים in Eze 46:6 is a copyist's error for תּמים.

Ezekiel 46:8

eze 46:8

On the Opening of the Temple for the People, and for the Voluntary Offerings of the Prince. - Eze 46:8. And when the prince cometh, he shall go in by the way to the porch of the gate, and by its way shall he go out. Eze 46:9. And when the people of the land come before Jehovah on the feast days, he who enters through the north gate to worship shall go out through the south gate; and he who enters through the south gate shall go out through the north gate: they shall not return through the gate through which they entered, but go out straight forward. Eze 46:10. And the prince shall enter in the midst of them, when they enter; and when they go out, they shall go out (together). Eze 46:11. And at the feast days and holy days the meat-offering shall be an ephah for the bullock, an ephah for the ram, and for the lambs what his hand may give, and of oil a hin for the ephah. Eze 46:12. And when the prince prepares a voluntary burnt-offering or voluntary peace-offerings to Jehovah, they shall open the gate that looks to the east, and he shall prepare his burnt-offerings and his peace-offering as he does on the Sabbath day; and when he has gone out they shall shut the gate after his going out. - The coming of the people to worship before Jehovah has been already mentioned in Eze 46:3, but only causally, with reference to the position which they were to take behind the prince in case any individuals should come on the Sabbaths or new moons, on which they were not bound to appear. At the high festivals, on the other hand, every one was to come (Deu 16:16); and for this there follow the necessary directions in Eze 46:9 and Eze 46:10, to prevent crowding and confusion. For the purpose of linking these directions to what comes before, the rule already laid down in Eze 46:2 concerning the entrance and exit of the prince is repeated in Eze 46:8. מועדים is supposed by the commentators to refer to the high festivals of the first and seventh months (Eze 45:21 and Eze 45:25); but מועדים does not apply to the same feasts as those which are called הגּים in Eze 46:11, as we may see from the combination of הגּים and מועדים. הגּים is the term applied to the greater annual feasts, as distinguished from the Sabbaths, new moons, and the day of atonement. The מועדים, on the contrary, are all the times and days sanctified to the Lord, including even the Sabbath (see the comm. on Lev 23:2). It is in this sense that מועדים is used here in Eze 46:9, and not הגּים, because what is laid down concerning the entrance and exit of the people, when visiting the temple, is not merely intended to apply to the high festivals, on which the people were bound to appear before Jehovah, but also to such feast days as the Sabbaths and new moons, whenever individuals from among the people were desirous of their own free-will to worship before the Lord. The latter cases were not to be excluded, although, as Eze 46:10 clearly shows, the great feasts were principally kept in mind. For the entrance and exit of the prince in the midst of the people (Eze 46:10) apply to the great yearly feasts alone. The Chetib yeetsee'uw יצאוּ in Eze 46:9 is to be preferred to the easier Keri יצא, and is not merely the more difficult reading, but the more correct reading also, as two kinds of people are mentioned, - those who entered by the north gate and those who entered by the south. Both are to go out walking straight forward; and neither of them is to turn in the court for the purpose of going out by the gate through which he entered. Even in Eze 46:10 יצאוּ is not to be altered, as Hitzig supposes, but to be taken as referring to the prince and the people. - In Eze 46:11, the instructions given in Eze 45:24; Eze 46:5, Eze 46:7, concerning the quantities composing the meat-offering for the different feasts, are repeated here as rules applicable to all festal times. בּהגּים וּבמועדים has been correctly explained as follows: "at the feasts, and generally at all regular (more correctly, established) seasons," cf. Eze 45:17. Only the daily sacrifices are excepted from this rule, other regulations being laid down for them in Eze 46:14. - Eze 46:12. The freewill-offerings could be presented on any week-day. And the rules laid down in Eze 46:1 and Eze 46:2 for the Sabbath-offerings of the prince are extended to cases of this kind, with one modification, namely, that the east gate, which had been opened for the occasion, should be closed again as soon as the sacrificial ceremony was over, and not left open till the evening, as on the Sabbath and new moon. נדבה is a substantive: the freewill-offering, which could be either a burnt-offering or a peace-offering.

Ezekiel 46:13

eze 46:13

The Daily Sacrifice

Eze 46:13. And a yearling lamb without blemish shalt thou prepare as a burnt-offering daily for Jehovah: every morning shalt thou prepare it. Eze 46:14. And a meat-offering shalt thou add to it every morning, a sixth of an ephah, and oil a third of a hin, to moisten the wheaten flour, as a meat-offering for Jehovah: let these be everlasting statutes, perpetually enduring. Eze 46:15. And prepare the lamb, and the meat-offering, and the oil, every morning as a perpetual burnt-offering. - The preparation of the daily sacrifice is not imposed upon the prince, in harmony with Eze 45:17; it is the duty of the congregation, which the priests have to superintend. Every morning a yearling lamb is to be brought as a burnt-offering. The Mosaic law required such a lamb both morning and evening (Num 28:3-4). The new thorah omits the evening sacrifice, but increases the meat-offering to the sixth of an ephah of meal and the third of a hin of oil, against the tenth of an ephah of meal and the fourth of a hin of oil prescribed by the Mosaic law (Num 28:5). רס, from רסס, ἁπ. λεγ.., to moisten (cf. רסיסים, Sol 5:2). The plural חקּות refers to the burnt-offering and meat-offering. תּמיד is added to give greater force, and, according to the correct remark of Hitzig, appears to be intended as a substitute for לדורתיכם in Lev 23:14, Lev 23:21, Lev 23:31. The repeated emphasizing of בּבּקר בּבּק shows that the silence as to the evening sacrifice is not a mere oversight of the matter, but that in the new order of worship the evening sacrifice is to be omitted. The Chetib ועשׂוּ is to be retained, in opposition to the Keri יעשׂוּ.

This brings to an end the new order of worship. The verses which follow in the chapter before us introduce two supplementary notices, - namely, a regulation pointing back to Eze 45:7-9, concerning the right of the prince to hand down or give away his landed property (Eze 46:16-18); and a brief description of the sacrificial kitchens for priests and people (Eze 46:19-24).

Ezekiel 46:16

eze 46:16

On the Right of the Prince to Dispose of his Landed Property

Eze 46:16. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, If the prince gives a present to one of his sons, it is his inheritance, shall belong to his sons; it is their possession, in an hereditary way. Eze 46:17. But if he gives a present from his inheritance to one of his servants, it shall belong to him till the year of liberty, and then return to the prince; to his sons alone shall his inheritance remain. Eze 46:18. And the prince shall not take from the inheritance of the people, so as to thrust them out of their possession; from his own possession he shall transmit to his sons, that no one of my people be scattered from his possession. - According to Eze 45:7-8, at the future division of the land among the tribes, a possession was to be given to the prince on both sides of the holy heave and of the city domain, that he might not seize upon a possession by force, as the former princes had done. The prince might give away portions of this royal property, but only within such limits that the design with which a regal possession had been granted might not be frustrated. To his sons, as his heirs, he might make gifts therefrom, which would remain their own property; but if he presented to any one of his servants a portion of his hereditary property, it was to revert to the prince in the year of liberty; just as, according to the Mosaic law, the hereditary field of an Israelite, which had been alienated, was to revert to its hereditary owner (Lev 27:24, compared with Lev 25:10-13). The suffix in נחלתו (Eze 46:16) is not to be taken as referring to the prince, and connected with the preceding words in opposition to the accents, but refers to אישׁ מבּניו. What the prince gives to one of his sons from his landed property shall be his נחלה, i.e., after the manner of an hereditary possession. On the other hand, what the prince presents to one of his servants shall not become hereditary in his case, but shall revert to the prince in the year of liberty, or the year of jubilee. The second half of Eze 46:17 reads verbally thus: "only his inheritance is it; as for his sons, it shall belong to them." - And as the prince was not to break up his regal possession by presents made to servants, so was he (Eze 46:18) also not to put any one out of his possession by force, for the purpose, say, of procuring property for his own sons; but was to give his sons their inheritance from his own property alone. For הונה, compare Eze 45:8, and such passages as Sa1 8:14; Sa1 22:7. We shall return by and by to the question, how this regulation stands related to the view that the prince is the Messiah.

Ezekiel 46:19

eze 46:19

The Sacrificial Kitchens for the Priests and for the People

Eze 46:19. And he brought me up the entrance by the shoulder of the gate to the holy cells for the priests, which looked to the north; and behold there was a place on the outermost side toward the west. Eze 46:20. And he said to me, This is the place where the priests boil the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, where they bake the meat-offering that they may not need to carry it out into the outer court, to sanctify the people. Eze 46:21. And he led me out into the outer court, and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; and behold, in every corner of the court there was again a court. Eze 46:22. In the four corners of the court were closed courts of forty cubits in length and thirty cubits in breadth; all four corner spaces had one measure. Eze 46:23. And a row of stands was round about therein in all four, and boiling hearths were under the rows made round about. Eze 46:24. And he said to me, These are the kitchen-house, where the servants of the house boil the slain-offering of the people. - In the list and description of the subordinate buildings of the temple, the sacrificial kitchens are passed over; and they are therefore referred to here again in a supplementary manner. Ewald has shifted Eze 46:19-24, and placed them after Eze 42:14, which would certainly have been the most suitable place for mentioning the sacrificial kitchens for the priests. But it is evident that they stood here originally, and not there; not only from the fact that in Eze 46:19 the passage to the holy cells (Eze 42:1.) is circumstantially described, which would have been unnecessary if the description of the kitchens had originally followed immediately after Eze 42:14, as Ezekiel was then standing by the cells; but also, and still more clearly, from the words that serve as an introduction to what follows, "he led me back to the door of the house" (Eze 47:1), which are unintelligible unless he had changed his standing-place between Eze 46:18 and Eze 47:1, as is related in Eze 46:19 and Eze 46:21, since Ezekiel had received the sacrificial thorah (Ezekiel 44:5-46:18) in front of the house (Eze 44:4). If Eze 46:19-24 had originally stood elsewhere, so that Eze 47:1 was immediately connected with Eze 46:18, the transition-formula in Eze 47:1 would necessarily have read very differently. - But with this section the right of the preceding one, Eze 46:16-18, which Ewald has arbitrarily interpolated in Ezekiel 45 between Eze 45:8 and Eze 45:9, to hold its present place in the chapter before us as an appendix, is fully vindicated. - The holy cells (Eze 46:19) are those of the northern cell-building (Eze 42:1-10) described in Eze 42:1-14 (see Plate I L). בּמּבוא is the approach or way mentioned in Eze 42:9, which led from the northern inner gate to these cells (see Plate I l); not the place to which Ezekiel was brought (Kliefoth), but the passage along which he was led. The spot to which he was conducted follows in אל (the article before the construct state, as in Eze 43:21, etc.). אל הכּהנים is appended to this in the form of an apposition; and here לשׁכות is to be repeated in thought: to those for the priests. 'הפּנות צ belongs to הלשׁכות. There, i.e., by the cells, was a space set apart at the outermost (hindermost) sides toward the west (Plate I M), for the boiling of the flesh of the trespass-offering and sin-offering, and the baking of the minchah, - that is to say, of those portions of the sacrifices which the priests were to eat in their official capacity (see the comm. on Eze 42:13). For the motive assigned in Eze 46:20 for the provision of special kitchens for this object, see the exposition of Eze 44:19.

In addition to these, kitchens were required for the preparation of the sacrificial meals, which were connected with the offering of the shelamim, and were held by those who presented them. These sacrificial kitchens for the people are treated of in Eze 46:20-24. They were situated in the four corners of the outer court (Plate I N). To show them to the prophet, the angel leads him into the outer court. The holy cells (Eze 46:19) and the sacrificial kitchens for the priests (Eze 46:20) were also situated by the outside wall of the inner court; and for this reason Ezekiel had already been led out of the inner court, where he had received the sacrificial thorah, through the northern gate of the court by the way which led to the holy cells, that he might be shown the sacrificial kitchens. When, therefore, it is stated in Eze 46:21 that "he led me out into the outer court," יוציאני can only be explained on the supposition that the space from the surrounding wall of the inner court to the way which led from the gate porch of that court to the holy cells, and to the passage which continued this way in front of the cells (Plate I l and m), was regarded as an appurtenance of the inner court. In every one of the four corners of the outer court there was a (small) courtyard in the court. The repetition of 'חצר בּמקצע הח has a distributive force. The small courtyards in the four corners of the court were קטרות, i.e., not "uncovered," as this would be unmeaning, since all courts or courtyards were uncovered; nor "contracted" (Bttcher), for קטר has no such meaning; nor "fumum exhalantia," as the Talmudists suppose; nor "bridged over" (Hitzig), which there is also nothing in the language to sustain; but in all probability atria clausa, i.e., muris cincta et janius clausa (Ges. Thes.), from קטר; in Aram. ligavit; in Ethiop. clausit, obseravit januam. The word מהקצעות is marked with puncta extraordinaria by the Masoretes as a suspicious word, and is also omitted in the Septuagint and Vulgate. Bttcher and Hitzig have therefore expunged it as a gloss. But even Hitzig admits that this does not explain how it found its way into the text. The word is a Hophal participle of קצע, in the sense of cornered off, cut off into corners, and is in apposition to the suffix to לארבּעתּם, - literally, one measure wax to all four, the spaces or courtyards cut off in the corners. For this appositional use of the participle, compare Kg1 14:6. There is also a difference of opinion as to the meaning of the word טוּר, which only occurs here and in Exo 28:17. and Eze 39:10, where it signifies "row," and not "enclosure" (Kliefoth). טירות, which follows, is evidently merely the feminine plural, from טוּר, as טירה is also derived from טוּר, in the sense of "to encircle" (see the comm. on Psa 69:26). Consequently טוּר does not mean a covering or boundary wall, but a row or shelf of brickwork which had several separate shelves, under which the cooking hearths were placed. מבשּׁלות, not kitchens, but cooking hearths; strictly speaking a partic. Piel, things which cause to boil. - בּית המּבשּׁלים - .liob ot e, kitchen house. משׁרתּי הבּית, the temple servants, as distinguished from the servants of Jehovah (Eze 44:15-16), are the Levites (Eze 44:11-12). עשׂוּי is construed as in Eze 40:17 and Eze 41:18-19.

Next: Ezekiel Chapter 47